I would and do like to see some amount of impulse driving development of these 'dark grey' modes of operation. OTOH, I also like the warm fuzzy safety of 'mainstream' exchanges and it is the primary method I use to obtain BTC at this time.
It is my nature to try to step back and ask myself 'so what'? When I do so here, I see some legitimate arguments that such a scenerio is actually just fine for some of the following reasons:
- less motivation to attack the system by those who might find it to be competition.
- more time for the system to be field tested and hardened.
- more of the currency base likely to be sucked up by people with a general interest vs. those trying to make a quick buck.
- participants less likely to be ripped off (as they would tend to be more knowledgeable.)
You make good points here, I also see the potential benefits of staying small. But then again I'm a starting Bitcoin enterpreneur and my business is not going to do very well if Bitcoin goes more underground. In fact it must grow during the next few years for my business to survive. I know that Bitcoin is not there to take care of my business, but what I'm going to be doing is core services for Bitcoin users and companies/organizations that want to start accepting Bitcoin.
But I have a strong feeling that if Bitcoin is going to go somewhere, it'll happen within the next 2 years. We'll see how it goes, our first real challenge has been the security of core 3rd party services which is an ongoing effort. I call moderate success on that one. The second challenge which is in my opinion a bigger one, is how to handle money exchange in a way that'll be legal and reliable in the long term.
I've not invested anything that I cannot afford to lose, and my expectation for a pay-off for this (or most of my other 'investments') is measured in years or decades. This probably shapes my philosophy and makes it differ from your run-of-the-mill day-trader.
I haven't invested anything I can't afford to lose either. I'm actually not a day-trader at all, although I've been trading quite a bit recently. This is simply because of the instability of Bitcoin's value. If the price can drop 50% just like that, and it still can, I have to consider the fact that if I buy when it's 50% down, I then hold double the Bitcoins. So my strategy for investing in coins is actually very long term, the same strategy as I have for my gold investments. But recently I've decided to trade until I see sufficient confirmations that the price has indeed reached a long-term bottom. When that happens I'm back to a long-term strategy.
My interests in Bitcoin are far and wide. I have mining rigs and I'm investing and occasionally trading as well. And as I already said I'm starting a Bitcoin company right now, which will be a company based in Finland and focusing on Finland but it will also compete internationally in some aspects of the business. My idea is to build a community site for Bitcoin users (Finnish users in the beginning) and provide core services similar to bitpay and get-bitcoin.com. I will also be a seller of goods such as Bitcoin-related t-shirts and my plan is to be a local casascius reseller. And this is only what I have in mind for 2012, who knows what I'll come up with in a few years if Bitcoin doesn't die out
I'm optimistic enough to hold the BTC I have and probably to accumulate more as the opportunities present themselves, and to put some effort into certain developments associated with Bitcoin. If it goes well and everything is rosy trading chips between official debt-based systems and Bitcoin, great. If there are problems in this area, Bitcoin may do OK anyway. I still consider the most likely scenerio as one being where Bitcoin fails completely for one of a number of possible reasons. I'm prepared for that, but am also prepared to fight against that happening.
I think that cryptocurrencies are not going away, but it's not certain if Bitcoin, as the first real implementation, is going to be the cryptocurrency in the long term. It has the distinct advantage of being well known and the first, so it has a good chance of succeeding as long as it stays reliable in a technical sense.